The massive network of groups affiliated with conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch is “taking a new look at which Republican candidates to support this year,” reports The Hill.
The network will collectively spend as much as $400 million this election cycle, but has not specified whether they will be targeting individual candidates.
“We’ve been disappointed so far this year and it’s going to cause us to closely evaluate the involvement we may or may not have in individual races,” says Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips, adding that he has made his misgivings clear to the White House and to Congress.
The Kochs and their PACs have expressed frustration with Trump’s trade offenses on China, as they worry a trade war with Beijing could cancel the effects of the GOP’s landmark tax overhaul passed last year.
“From the beginning we’ve said that tariffs and protectionism is a bad idea,” says Phillips. “It’s a tax on American consumers because a lot of the product they’re buying will cost more and it hurts American industries when countries retaliate.”
With the Koch brothers taking a stand against Trump’s tariffs, some Republican leaders who enjoyed Koch funds last year could be forced to go after the president.
Take House Speaker Paul Ryan, for example, whose campaign committee in 2017 brought in $495,000. Ryan has already publicly denounced Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, stating in March that he “disagreed with the action and feared the unintended consequences.”
The Koch network is also annoyed by the Republican Party’s seeming reluctance to take up major legislation before the midterms. Policies on which the Koch network is pushing for action include: criminal justice reform, rolling back Dodd-Frank banking rules, providing access to experimental drugs for terminally ill patients, and a vote to make individuals tax rate cuts permanent.
In mid-April, the network launched a 7-figure ad campaign to pressure lawmakers to find a permanent solution for DACA recipients.
“There is a clear solution to the status of the Dreamers that all parties should be able to agree on, one that has bipartisan support and can be enacted promptly, and which provides certainty to the Dreamers and enhanced security to the nation,” reads a letter sent to Congressional leaders earlier this month. “That is to pass legislation that provides a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers and provides $25 billion for enhanced border security measures.”